The occurrence of abnormal ocular development in generalized mesodermal disorders such as arachnodactyly (Marfan's syndrome, dolichostenomelia) has been recognized for some time. More recently, characteristic alterations in the chamber angle in this condition1-3 and in other mesodermal disorders such as idiopathic scoliosis have been described.4 A generalized mesodermal disorder, closely resembling Marfan's syndrome in the human can be produced in rodents by feeding the young a diet containing a high percentage of lathyrus odoratus seeds or their active principles. This diet-induced disease state called lathyrism includes scoliosis, deformities of the extremities, and dissecting aneurysm of the aorta. Extensive studies of this experimental mesodermal disorder have been done by Ponseti and his co-workers who, in addition to describing in detail the gross changes, have explored the histochemistry of the abnormal tissues, and have isolated the principal active compound from the lathyrus pea, β-aminopropinonitrile.5,6 A closely related compound, aminoacetonitrile,
GRAETHER JM, BURIAN HM. The Effects of Aminoacetonitrile on Somatic and Ocular Development in the Fetal Rabbit. Arch Ophthalmol. 1963;69(5):602–611. doi:10.1001/archopht.1963.00960040608013
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